Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mill Site at Gorby

On Sunday, October 24th, the EIC Crew joined Pauletta and Vic DeLoach of Gorby to get a look at the old Mill Dam remains located on Piney Creek near where the old Olive Branch School once stood. After a short hike a little way along Piney Creek we came upon the timbers that once were part of the old mill dam and likely even the mill house itself!

Pauletta had e-mailed us several weeks before we joined them with photos she had taken of the site. One photo showed what appeared to be a small wheel with a narrow shaft that we assumed was some debris washed downstream during some of the larger floods we've experienced over the past few years. However, as Rick began poking around along the bank of the creek among some timbers, we found that what we thought was a small steel wheel was actually a large cast iron wheel over 2 feet in diameter and that the shaft was actually a 6 - 8 inch diameter log. As Rick continued to move debris from around the wheel, we discovered that cast into the wheel were cupped bucket structures designed to harness the energy of the flowing creek. We believe that this is at least part of the wheel which generated and transferred power to whatever machinery the mill employed.

Timbers from the mill dam and very likely the structure of the mill itself stretch completely across the creek which is about 70 yards wide.

This is a significant find. We hope to make further excursions to this site in the future and hope to gain permission to excavate the wheel from where it is firmly embedded into the creek bank. Our hope is to find makers marks in the casting and find out if we can trace its origin. Perhaps the public will one day get to see this relic of Izard County's industrial past in one of the county's museums.

There are several more mill sites along Piney Creek in this area. We're hoping to visit others in the future as well and document what is left of them.

No comments: